Enhancing employability: Human, cultural, and social capital in an era of turbulent unpredictability

Turbulence and unpredictability in 21st-century labor markets arguably magnify the importance of maintaining employability. Drawing on recent research, I discuss three mechanisms for enhancing employability in this context: identity work, training and networking, and laboring in unpaid and marginal paid positions. Few of these activities are counted as ‘work’ because they are mostly unpaid and they often take place outside formal job structures. By specifying how a range of employment-related activities are essential to and even constitute work, this article contributes to debates about the scope and boundaries of employment and shows how everyday actions build and reinforce new economic structures — how individual actions make the new economy possible. It also provides greater specification of the concept of employability.

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